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SENTENTIA. European Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences

Linguistic education: communicative tolerance as a component of communicative competence

Baldanova Evgeniya Anatol'evna

PhD in Pedagogy

Docent, the department of Humanities, Zabaykalsky Institute of Railway Transport (branch) of the Irkutsk State Transport University

672040, Russia, Zabaikal'skii krai, g. Chita, ul. Magistral'naya, 11

Other publications by this author

Dondokova Nataliya Bal'zhinimaevna

PhD in Pedagogy

Docent, the department of Humanities, Zabaykalsky Institute of Railway Transport (branch) of the Irkutsk State Transport University

672040, Russia, Zabaikal'skii krai, g. Chita, ul. Magistral'naya, 11

Other publications by this author








Abstract: The subject of this research is the linguistic education as teaching a foreign language; while the object is the concepts of “competency” and “competence”. The authors examine and compare the views of foreign and Russian scholars upon the content of these concepts. Special attention is given to the components of the key competencies, namely communicative competence. Analysis is conducted on aspects as “communicative competence” and “communicative tolerance”. Communicative competence suggests the command of language, as well as various social roles in the collective, including communication skills. The author highlights the role of the “Foreign Language” discipline in the development of students’ communicative competence and tolerance. The conclusion is made that communicative tolerance is a component of communicative competence. It is necessary to develop communicative competence of the students as the readiness for tolerant communication with the interaction partners. Communicative competence aimed at mastering the students’ ability to tolerance communication is being formed in the context of teaching a foreign language. The scientific novelty of the study lies in the fact that communicative competence encompasses not only the command of languages, but also various social roles in the team and the ability to communicate tolerantly. The conducted analysis can be valuable for the researchers of dealing with the nature of the categories of “competency” and “competence”.


competence-based approach, competency, competence, key competences, ommunicative competence, communicative tolerance, foreign language, forming, students, communication


In the information oriented society the most important component of country's social and economic development is knowledge and information, the acquisition of that requires higher professional education. Competence based approach in the professional higher education allows the students moving from orientation of knowledge reproduction to application and organization of knowledge. The aim of the article is to analyze the views of foreign and domestic scientists and researchers on the content of concepts “communicative tolerance” and “communicative competence”.

Yu. G. Tatur substantiates the transition to the use of the concept “competency” in the description of a specialist with a higher education in educational standards: “Taking into account the generalized, integral nature of the concept “competency” in relation to the terms of “knowledge”, “skills”, “possession” used in educational standards, such transition will ensure the formation of a generalized quality model abstracted from special disciplines and objects of labor, which will allow, in its turn, talking about a broader, than today, possible field of a specialist’s activity”[12, p.23].

Main part

Education plays a paramount role in formation of a competent personality, his professional knowledge and experience. A competent person who has completed a certain level of education, expresses readiness and ability for successful, productive and effective activities, taking into account its social significance and social risks that may be associated with it.

The discipline “Foreign language” is aimed at mastering the communicative competence of students, i.e. the ability to communicate. But for successful communication it is necessary not only to master the linguistic resources of the interlocutor (phonetic, lexical, grammatical), but also general knowledge of the world [10, p.270]. This cognitive knowledge is called background knowledge. Learning to communicate in a foreign language makes it necessary to master the background knowledge (in verbal and nonverbal forms), otherwise there will be a misunderstanding between the interlocutors belonging to different cultures. There are differences in speech etiquette. For example, the Russians shake hands at the meeting and farewell, but for the Japanese, even for business people, this is unacceptable, as they meet and say good-bye exchanging bows.

Competencies are often used to describe the potential of a specialist to get a job in the labor market. In the opinion of R.P. Milrud, it is necessary to possess “key competencies” which in the modern world include literacy, information technology skills, problem-solving skills, flexibility and adaptability to innovations, life-long learning. Key competencies show that language education can live up to life requirements, if a narrowly understood communicative competence, as a willingness to communicate in a group, will be supplemented by readiness for real life communication [6, p.36].

According to I. A. Zimnyaya, the competency is wider than knowledge and skills, it includes them in itself; competency includes emotionally-volitional regulation of its behavioral manifestation; the content of competency is significant for the subject of its implementation; being an active manifestation of a person in his activity and behavior, competency is characterized by mobilization readiness as an opportunity of its realization in any situation. As for the competence, these are “some internal, potential, hidden psychological neoplasms: knowledge, ideas, programs (algorithms) of actions, systems of values and relationships, which are then revealed in the competences of a person” [5, p.41]. I.A. Zimnyaya allocates 10 core competencies, calling them key (actual): health saving, value-oriented orientation in the world, integration, citizenship, self-improvement, social interaction, communication, activities, cognitive activities, information technologies.

Each kind of a key competence has a complex structure, consisting of many components. So, to the competence in communication I.A. Zimnyaya relates competence in oral communication, in writing, in dialogue, in monologue, in the generation and perception of the text; knowledge and observance of traditions, ritual, etiquette; cross-cultural communication; business correspondence; office work, business language, communicative tasks, levels of impact on the recipient. Competences of social interaction are competences with society, community, team, family, friends, partners, conflicts and their repayment, cooperation, tolerance, respect and acceptance of the other individual (race, nationality, religion, status, role, sex), social mobility [5]. Thus, tolerance is a component of the competence of social interaction with society. In this regard, M. Rozenova singles out social and communicative competency - knowledge and skills related to the implementation of social and professional contacts [9, p.170].

Since the main background of students’ everyday learning activity is the communication among themselves, the resulting rules and practices, G. K Ashin [1, p.275] considers communicative tolerance as the most expressed and meaningful type of social relations for future specialists manifested in interpersonal relationships, established norms and practices of everyday learning activity and collective identities, and he underlines five basic levels of communicative tolerance: indulgence, respect, empathy, kindness, communication.

In the sphere of professional activity, much depends on the ability of a person to realize himself through communication: establish business relationships; contact and exit from it; communicate and explain their thoughts and suggestions; adequately understand their colleagues, managers and subordinates; constructively resolve tension or conflict, etc. V.V. Boyko identifies the following types of communicative tolerance: situational one manifested in the relationship of a given person to a particular person; typological one manifested in relation to a certain type of personality or a certain group of people (representatives of a certain race, nationality, social stratum); professional one manifested in the process of professional activity; general one manifested in relation to people in general due to the properties of character, moral principles, the level of mental health [3].

V.P. Petlenko states the definition of communicative tolerance as a characteristics of a person’s relationship to people, showing the degree of tolerance of unpleasant or unacceptable mental states, qualities and actions of the partners in interaction. In the opinion of V. P. Petlenko, communicative tolerance is one of the most important and informative features of a person, which is a collective one. It reflects the factors of fate and upbringing, the experience of personal communication and its various manifestations - culture, values, needs, interests, attitudes, character, temperament, habits, thinking. The scientist attributes this characteristics of the personality to the core character, for it largely determines his life style and activity - position in the immediate surrounding and at work, career advancement and the performance of professional duties, “it is a system forming characteristics of the personality, since many other qualities of the individual conform to it and make a certain psychological ensemble, primarily moral and intellectual. That is why the features of a person’s communicative tolerance can testify to his mental health, inner harmony or disharmony, his ability to self-control and self-correction”[8, p.301].

L.D. Stolyarenko considers that “for effective communication it is characteristic: the achievement of mutual understanding of partners, a better understanding of the situation and the subject of communication, i.e. the achievement of greater certainty in situation understanding contributes to the resolution of problems, ensures the achievement of goals with optimal use of resources. Communicative competency is considered as a system of internal resources necessary for constructing effective communication in a certain range of situations of interpersonal interaction” [11, p.633].

Speaking on the Bologna reforms Baidenko V.I. underlines that among the urgent problems of this stage there are numerous difficulties in implementing a student-centered approach to education, orienting it towards learning outcomes in terms of the competency model. Attention is drawn to difficulties in mastering a new pedagogical paradigm, which is a shift in the didactics of higher education: “from teaching to learning”. The requirements for a graduate of an engineering university, formulated by the World Congress on Engineering Education in Portsmouth in 1992, include the requirement of “communicative readiness”, which practically coincides with the concept of “communicative competency”. Its components are:

1. Possession of literature and business written and oral speech in the native language;

2. Possession of at least one of the most common foreign languages in the world;

3. The ability to develop and use technical documentation;

4. The ability to use computer equipment and other means of communication and information, including telecommunications networks;

5. Knowledge of psychology and ethics of communication, possession of the skill of management of a professional group or collective [2].

Competency in language education is associated with the notion of “communicative competence”. E.F. Zeer, E. Simanyuk give an example of communicative competence: “To learn to communicate, you need to communicate; to use a computer, you must perform certain actions on it; to learn English, we need to provide language communication”[4, p.30].

V. Hutmacher notes that the concept of "competence" is closer to the conceptual field "

“I know how” than to the field “I know what” and stresses “that using is competence in action” [15]. He cites the Council of Europe’s definition of 5 groups of key competencies, the importance of which is attached to the training of young people:

- “... political and social competencies, such as the ability to assume responsibility, participate in decision-making, resolve conflicts non-violently, participate in the maintenance and improvement of democratic institutions;

- intercultural competencies related to life in a multicultural society. In order to control the manifestation (resurgence) of racism and xenophobia and the development of a climate of intolerance, education must “equip” young people with intercultural competencies, such as accepting differences, respecting others and being able to live with people of other cultures, languages and religions;

- communicative competences related to the mastery of oral and written communication, which are especially important for work and social life, with an emphasis on the fact that those people who do not own them are threatened with social isolation. In the same context of communication, ownership of more than one language becomes increasingly important;

- social information competencies related to the increasing informatization of society. Possession of these technologies, understanding of their application, weaknesses and strengths and ways to critical judgments regarding information disseminated by mass media and advertising;

- personal competence - the ability to learn throughout life as the basis for continuous learning in the context of both personal professional and social life” [14, p.11].

According to L. Bachman [13], the main components of communicative competence are linguistic (knowledge of grammar and vocabulary), discursive (communicative use of language), pragmatic (achievement of the communicative goal), strategic (overcoming communicative failures) and sociocultural (mastery of norms of behavior). E.I. Passov [7] cites four components of communicative competence: 1) grammatical competence; 2) sociological competence; 3) the competence of the utterance that is the ability “to perceive and produce not a separate sentence, but a super-phrasal unity”; 4) the competence of speech strategy.

It becomes obvious today that humanity is developing along the path of expanding the interconnection and interdependence of various countries, peoples and their cultures. However, these contacts are not always effective enough. Sometimes entry into the international arena is accompanied by disagreements and misunderstandings, which are based not on economic but cultural differences: the features of thinking and behavior; features of interpersonal communications; their rules and social norms in each country. Mutual understanding and language barriers make it very difficult. Cultural differences play an important role in business relations, and can strongly influence the marginal efficiency of joint business.

Obviously, communicative competence and communicative tolerance do not appear by themselves, it is necessary to educate them purposefully. Most of the problems in communicating with representatives of other cultures arise from a misunderstanding of the reasons for each other’s behavior, when people in a certain situation are waiting for a specific behavior, and, without waiting for it, make false conclusions about the culture they communicate. Therefore, it is very important to convey stereotypes of a particular culture characteristic behavior to students.


Thus, on the above consideration, we can conclude that most authors understand competency as the integrated characterization of personality traits, the result of readiness of a university graduate for performing activities in certain fields (competences). Competence is a situational category, because it expresses itself in readiness to carry out any activity in specific professional and problem situations.

Communicative tolerance is a communicative readiness for respectful attitude to other people and their views, other customs, habits and tastes; desire for dialogue, cooperation and positive evaluation of surrounding people, agreement with their objective opinion; availability of adequate behavior in non-standard situations, understanding of another point of view, the ability to forgive other people’s mistakes and delusions; tolerance of unpleasant or unacceptable actions of the partners in the interaction. So, the communicative competence includes not only knowledge of languages, ways of interaction with surrounding people and events, but also skills of work in a group, possession of various social roles in the team, that is, communicative tolerance.

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